Photo by madison lavern on Unsplash
Even if many people consider the holiday season to be the most wonderful time of the year, there’s no way around the fact that it can also be the most stressful. In fact, I’ve actually read that stress spikes typically increase somewhere around 44 percent for women and 31 percent for men during the months of November and December. And when we’re all stressed out, that can do a real number, not just on our mental and emotional health but our physical well-being; this includes our hair.
It would be a real shame if, after New Year’s Day comes and goes, you’ve got some excessive shedding, breakage or other issues going on with your own locks. That’s why I wanted to take a moment to share some tips on how to keep your scalp and hair from going through the consequences of stress, so that you can walk into the 2022 with your tresses firmly intact.
1. Get Yourself Some Pine Essential Oil
Ah yes. In the spirit of the holiday season, what would your home — or your health — be without the fresh smell of pine? Here’s the thing about it too: I bet you didn’t know that pine essential oil can actually do wonders for your hair. Yep. That’s because it contains antibacterial, antiseptic, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and detoxifying properties that can help to rid your scalp of fungus (like the kind that leads to dandruff), it can help to soothe any eczema-related scalp breakouts and it’s actually great if you’re looking to give yourself a stress-relieving scalp massage. And since the root of all flourishing hair growth is your scalp, I’m sure you can see why maintaining your own is such a great idea. (You can find pine essential oil where most essential oils are available, by the way.)
2. Treat Yourself to a Scalp Massage
Speaking of a scalp massage, when’s the last time that you actually treated yourself to one? Now that the holiday season is in full swing, hopefully you’ll get at least a couple of days off and you’ll be able to use that time for a little bit of rest and relaxation. Scalp massages are great because they help to calm your nerves, increase blood circulation to your hair follicles (which helps to make them stronger), can help to strengthen the roots of your hair and so much more.
For a walkthrough on how to effectively give yourself one, check out our article “How to Give a Scalp Massage”. Oh, and if you happen to want to forego the pine oil to massage your scalp with, lemongrass is good for treating dandruff, the antimicrobial and antibacterial properties of lavender oil can help to improve the health of your scalp over time and rosemary oil increases cellular regeneration so that your hair can growth healthy and strong. If you’d like to learn more about some essential oils that are great for your hair and scalp, check out “8 Essential Oils That Are Great for Curly Hair” that’s also featured on our site.
3. Eat Some Foods That Are Currently in Season
Taking good care of your hair (and de-stressing your system) means that you’ve got to be intentional about what you eat as well. And while this is the time of year to enjoy some of the homemade goodies that will be sure to make its way to your table, try to not go overboard as far as sugar is concerned. The reason why is because sugar triggers bodily inflammation which can result in damage to your hair follicles and possibly even hair loss over time.
On the flip side, turkey (the signature holiday meat) is loaded with protein which is something that your tresses do need. Some other foods that are in season around this time of year that are healthy for your hair include apples (they’re loaded with biotin); collards (they’re like a multivitamin for your hair); cranberries (they’re full of antioxidants and if you put some pure juice into your shampoo, it can actually help to repair your hair follicles); pumpkin (the Vitamin A in it can help your scalp to produce more sebum in order to keep it moisturized); pears (they’ve got a natural alcohol called sorbitol that aids in feeding your hair follicles); sweet potatoes (their beta-carotene can reduce hair thinning) and even mangos (they contain powerful moisturizing properties).
4. Keep Your Cuticles Sealed
While I’m pretty sure that you’re familiar with what hair cuticles are, if you’ve ever been curious about what the word “technically” means, cuticles are simply the outermost part of your hair shaft that’s comprised of dead cells that help to protect the rest of your hair. The reason why it’s so important that your cuticles remain sealed is because, when they’re not, not only does that make the rest of your hair vulnerable to inclement weather and other things that can damage it, it can also result in a significant amounts of frizz and locks that end up looking rather dull.
Some things that you can do to keep your cuticles sealed include adding a teaspoon of olive, avocado or sweet almond oil to your shampoo (the extra moisture can help to protect your cuticles during cold temperatures); rinsing your hair with cool water on wash days; blow drying your hair on a cooler setting with the nozzle pointing downwards (which is along the grain of your cuticles) and clarifying your hair with an apple cider vinegar rinse, every third wash, in order to remove buildup.
5. Amp Up Your Hair Accessories
Personally, I think one of the best things about this time of the year is how it’s perfectly the norm to cover up your hair due to all of the wet (snow, sleet, etc.) weather. So, on the days (or nights) when you’re simply not in the mood to fuss with your hair a lot, that’s when you need to pull out those cute hats that are on the top shelf of your closet. Just make sure that they are lined with satin; otherwise, you could end up drying out your tresses or, if your hats are made of wood, your hair could end up snagging on them. Also, if you’re experiencing a bit of a bad hair day (again, because of the weather), you can usually remedy that pretty quickly by putting some other kind of hair accessory in. Some that are currently trending include pearl hair pins and barrettes, wide padded headbands, jewel-toned hair clips, hair-kerchiefs (which is basically just another name for tying a scarf around your head) and, believe it or not, scrunchies.
6. Put It into a Protective Style
Technically, a protective style is any style that literally protects your hair, so that you aren’t manipulating and styling it as much as you usually do. And yes, this means that wigs and weaves most certainly qualify. However, if you want to try a style that is outside of those two options, some looks that are trending right through here include Marley twists, faux locs, knotless braids, large box braids and jumbo twists. All look amazing. All are relatively low-maintenance. And all will keep you less stressed out (at least when it comes to your looks), so that you can focus on other things this holiday season. Enjoy!